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Edited Transcript of ZNGA.OQ earnings conference call or presentation 5-Aug-20 9:00pm GMT

Q2 2020 Zynga Inc Earnings Call

San Francisco Aug 6, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Zynga Inc earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 9:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Frank D. Gibeau

Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director

* James Gerard Griffin

Zynga Inc. - CFO

* Rebecca Lau

Zynga Inc. - VP of IR & Corporate Finance

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alexander Joseph Giaimo

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Andrew Edward Crum

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - VP

* Brian Nicholas Fitzgerald

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Colin Alan Sebastian

Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst

* Douglas Lippl Creutz

Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

* Eric James Sheridan

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD and Equity Research Internet Analyst

* Matthew Andrew Cost

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate

* Matthew Corey Thornton

Truist Securities, Inc., Research Division - VP

* Michael Joseph Hickey

The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Analyst

* X. Lu

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Research Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Zynga Second Quarter 2020 Results Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today to Rebecca Lau, Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Finance. Thank you. Please go ahead.

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Rebecca Lau, Zynga Inc. - VP of IR & Corporate Finance [2]

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Thanks, Dylan, and welcome, everyone to Zynga's Second Quarter 2020 Earnings Call. On the call with me today are Frank Gibeau, our Chief Executive Officer; and Ger Griffin, our Chief Financial Officer. Shortly, we will open up the call for live questions.

Before we cover the safe harbor, please note that in an effort to keep our team members healthy, each member on today's call is dialed in remotely. We appreciate your understanding during the call and hope that everyone is also safe and well during this time.

During the course of today's call, we will make forward-looking statements related to our business plan and strategy as well as expectations for our future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted. Please review the risk factors in our most recently filed Form 10-Q as well as elsewhere in our SEC filings for further clarification.

In addition, we will also discuss non-GAAP financial measures. Our earnings letter, earnings slides and when filed, our 10-Q, will include reconciliations of our GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures. Please be sure to look at these reconciliations as the non-GAAP measures are not intended to be a substitute for or superior to our GAAP results.

This conference call is being webcasted and will be available for audio replay on our Investor Relations website in a few hours.

Now I'll turn the call over to Frank for his opening remarks.

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [3]

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Thanks, Rebecca. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining our call. We are living in unprecedented times and more people than ever before are turning to games for entertainment and a sense of community. With more people staying at home, we saw heightened levels of player engagement, social connection and monetization in our portfolio. Increased player engagement in our live services drove our exceptional Q2 results including record revenue and bookings performances and our best operating cash flow in more than 8 years.

We also executed our transformational acquisition of Peak and are entering Q3 with 8 forever franchises adding significant scale to our live services foundation. Our new game pipeline is also progressing well, and we expect to begin releasing new titles later this year.

Today, we are raising our full year 2020 revenue and bookings guidance, which Ger will provide more details on later in the call. In addition, I am pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement to acquire Rollic, one of the fastest-growing hyper-casual game companies in 2020. With Rollic, we are meaningfully expanding our entry into hyper-casual, one of the largest and fastest-growing game categories on mobile, while adding a highly talented team and an extensive network of external developers to Zynga.

Our performance to date demonstrates strong execution of our multiyear growth strategy of: a, growing our live services; b, adding new forever franchises to our portfolio; and c, adding new platforms in markets and technology. Additionally, we continue to see opportunities to enhance each of these growth pillars through acquisitions.

First, our strength in live services is the foundation of our multiyear growth strategy. In Q2, our live services, anchored by our forever franchises and social slots and casual cards portfolios, drove our best revenue and bookings quarter in Zynga history with revenue up 47% year-over-year and bookings up 38% year-over-year.

During the quarter, we achieved many new records as more people turn to our deeply social game experiences while sheltering in place and as players enjoyed our robust lineup of bold beats. For example, within Empires & Puzzles, Merge Magic! and Hit It Rich! Slots, we recently introduced Battle Pass features, which have been well received by players and are proving to be positive drivers of engagement and monetization. We are also continuing to integrate and expand popular brands within our live services, including Fast & Furious in CSR2, Rick and Morty and Merge Dragons!, and a new Dragons of Westeros feature in Game of Thrones Slots Casino.

All of this is fueled by our proven and scalable live services capabilities comprised of best-in-class product management, data science, user acquisition, advertising and platform relationships.

Second, our goal is to add new forever franchises to our live services portfolio. Our recent acquisition of Peak brings one of the world's best puzzle game makers to Zynga, and their 2 top charting games, Toon Blast and Toy Blast. These 2 titles have captured a highly engaged global audience base with some of the industry's best player retention, and currently have more than 12 million mobile DAUs and 26 million mobile MAUs. These titles expand our live services to 8 forever franchises, increasing the scale and resiliency of our portfolio.

We are also making good progress on our 3 new games in soft launch: FarmVille 3, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells and Puzzle Combat. We have introduced new features to provide players with more content, quests and ways to customize their gaming experiences and have expanded into additional soft launch territories to continue gathering player feedback. Our soft launch process includes careful testing and iteration of game features with the goal of delivering long-term retention.

We expect to begin releasing new games later this year and anticipate these titles will steadily scale over time.

Third, mobile is continuously evolving, and we are investing in new platforms, markets and technologies to increase our total addressable market and drive further growth. Today, we announced our agreement to acquire Rollic, a developer and publisher with a portfolio of popular hyper-casual games that have collectively been downloaded more than 250 million times. 8 of Rollic's games have reached #1 or #2 top 3 downloaded games in the U.S. App Store. And their latest releases, Go Knots 3D and Tangle Master 3D were the top 2 most downloaded games in the U.S. App Store in Q2 2020.

With this acquisition, we are excited to enter the hyper-casual market, one of the largest and fastest-growing mobile gaming categories. The growth of this category is fueled by advertising-driven games that are highly accessible and appeal to a broad audience globally. With more than 5 million mobile DAUs and 65 million mobile MAUs, we expect Rollic to meaningfully increase our audience and expand and diversify our advertising business.

In addition, we are driving strong growth in international markets, with Q2 revenue and bookings up 56% and 34% year-over-year, respectively. And Android revenue and bookings up 61% and 43% year-over-year. With Toon Blast and Toy Blast, we will further increase our international business, especially in Japan.

In terms of new platform investments, we released Bumped Out, our second title on the Snap Games platform as a part of a new multi game partnership with Snap, as well as our first voice-based game, Word Pop, exclusively for Amazon Alexa. We also produced a 2-hour live streaming event with Amazon Twitch Prime for Words with Friends in collaboration with Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood that entertained more than 3 million total viewers. While our investments in these and other initiatives are in the early stages, we believe they have the potential to increase our growth over the long term.

Last, we continue to see opportunities to acquire talented teams and franchises to further accelerate our growth. The talent base for mobile gaming is global. And the mobile platform is vast and constantly evolving with new innovations emerging every year. To date, our acquisitions have delivered strong contributions to our live services, added multiple new forever franchises to our portfolio, expanded our new game pipeline and opened up new categories for us on mobile. Our proven integration model enables teams to maintain their unique development cultures while leveraging Zynga's highly scalable studio operations and publishing platform so we can collectively grow faster together.

Now I would like to turn the call over to Ger to discuss our Q2 results in further detail as well as our outlook for 2020 and beyond.

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James Gerard Griffin, Zynga Inc. - CFO [4]

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Thank you, Frank. We capped off a great first half performance with tremendous Q2 results, delivering our best quarterly revenue and bookings in Zynga history. Strength across our live services delivered a better-than-expected top line and operating leverage. We're also happy to have -- now have Peak in the Zynga family, having closed this transformational acquisition on July 1, bringing to Zynga an amazingly talented studio with 2 top charting franchises in Toon Blast and Toy Blast. Given the strength in our live services, including a full second year -- half of the year contribution from Peak, we are raising our full year outlook for revenue and bookings. But first, let's discuss our Q2 results.

Revenue was $452 million comprised of bookings of $518 million offset by a net increase in deferred revenue of $66 million. Revenue was $22 million ahead of our raised guidance, driven by an $18 million bookings beat and a $4 million lower-than-expected net increase in deferred revenue. Broad-based strength across our live services drove our top line beat, in particular, stronger-than-expected performances from our Social Slots portfolio, Words with Friends, CSR2, Empires & Puzzles versus our raised guidance.

Revenue was $145 million or 47% up year-over-year, driven by bookings growth of $142 million or 38% year-over-year and a $3 million lower net increase in deferred revenue. Our year-over-year revenue and bookings growth was driven by broad-based strength across our mobile live services, in particular, from Empires & Puzzles, Merge Dragons!, Merge Magic! and Game of Thrones Slots Casino. User pay was the driver of our top line growth with advertising as expected, moderately down year-over-year. The net increase in deferred revenue was $66 million and was driven primarily by bookings from Empires & Puzzles and Merge Dragons!.

We ended Q2 with a deferred revenue balance of $523 million versus $358 million a year ago.

Turning to our Q2 operating expenses. GAAP operating expenses were $402 million, up $161 million or 67% year-over-year, primarily driven by higher contingent consideration expense, marketing investments and acquisition-related expenses versus our prior year. Our Small Giant Games and Gram Games acquisitions continue to perform ahead of our expectations, resulting in $149 million contingent consideration expense, up $125 million year-over-year and $24 million ahead of our guidance. The increase in marketing was primarily due to the year-over-year addition of Merge Magic! and the overall investments across our live services portfolio as well as games in test markets.

Year-over-year, GAAP operating expenses increased to 89% versus 79% of revenue, primarily due to the material increase in contingent consideration expense. Non-GAAP operating expenses were $222 million, up $25 million or 13% year-over-year, primarily due to the increase in marketing investments. Non-GAAP operating expenses represented 43% of bookings down from 52% of bookings in the prior year, primarily driven by our improved operating leverage in all expense lines.

We reported a net loss of $150 million, $10 million better than our guidance and $94 million higher than our net loss of $56 million a year ago. The variance to guidance was driven primarily by the burden expected operating performance, partially offset by the higher contingent consideration expense. The variance to prior year was driven primarily by the higher contingent consideration and income tax expense, partially offset by our improved operating performance.

Our adjusted EBITDA was $70 million, $35 million better than our guidance, primarily due to our higher-than-expected top line performance and lower-than-anticipated marketing expenses. On a year-over-year basis, adjusted EBITDA increased $67 million on strong operating performance.

We generated operating cash flow of $145 million, our best performance since 2011 and up 47% year-over-year. As of June 30, we had $1.6 billion of cash and investments. As of today, we have approximately $620 million in cash and investments, with the main material payments in July being the $923 million related to the acquisition of Peak and $68 million for our latest earnout payment to Gram Games. We also have $150 million available under our existing credit facility with no amounts outstanding. Looking forward, we expect positive operating cash flow through the balance of 2020, and are assessing debt financing alternatives to further expand our cash reserves, which we expect will be primarily used to fund future acquisitions to further accelerate our growth.

Now I would like to take a few moments to comment on our proposed acquisition of Rollic. Today, we announced an agreement to acquire Istanbul-based Rollic, a mobile games developer and publisher with an exciting portfolio of popular hyper-casual games. This acquisition gives Zynga a more meaningful presence on one of the largest and fastest-growing gaming categories on mobile and also adds a highly talented team and an extensive network of external developers. Rollic's titles currently have more than 5 million mobile DAUs and 65 million mobile MAUs, which will meaningfully increase our audience and grow our advertising business. We are initially acquiring 80% of Rollic for $168 million in cash at an implied valuation of $210 million for the total company.

While we are not disclosing specific valuation multiples for this transaction, for full year 2020 on a stand-alone basis, Rollic is on track to deliver just north of $100 million of revenue and bookings and margins broadly in line with those of Zynga for 2020. Over the next 3 years, Zynga will acquire the remaining 20% in equal installments at valuations based on specific bookings and profitability goals. The transaction is subject to customary closing adjustments, and we expect it to close on October 1, 2020.

Thirdly, while we expect the acquisition of Rollic to close on October 1, our current guidance does not include any contribution from Rollic.

Now turning to guidance. We have developed our Q3 and full year 2020 guidance based on the information available to us today, August 5, 2020, and using similar methodologies to prior quarters. Given the higher level of uncertainty in the industry, in particular around the COVID-19 crisis, there is the potential for a wider range of outcomes, both positive and negative, as it relates to our ultimate business results.

That said, let's discuss our Q3 and 2020 guidance. Guidance for Q3 is as follows: revenue of $445 million, up $100 million or 29% year-over-year; a net increase in deferred revenue of $175 million to $50 million in the prior year; bookings of $620 million, up $225 million or 57% year-over-year; a net loss of $160 million versus net income of $230 million in the prior year; adjusted EBITDA loss of $45 million versus adjusted EBITDA of $28 million in the prior year.

Some factors to consider in assessing our Q3 guidance include: live services will drive the vast majority of our top line performance, led by our forever franchises, including full quarter contributions from Toon Blast, Toy Blast and Merge Magic!. This overall momentum will be partially offset by year-over-year declines in older mobile and web titles. We also expect the year-over-year user -- excuse me, we also expect that year-over-year user pay growth will more than offset declines in advertising yields.

With our acquisition of Peak, we have added 2 forever franchises, Toon Blast and Toy Blast, to our portfolio. As these are new to Zynga consistent with standard accounting practice, we expect a material net increase in deferred revenue as the majority of the initial bookings associated with these titles will be deferred for recognition as revenue in future quarters. Accordingly, in Q3, we expect a net increase in deferred revenue of $175 million. This represents the largest quarterly increase in deferred revenue in Zynga history and compares to a net increase of $50 million in Q3 2019. The year-over-year change in this GAAP revenue deferral is a meaningful factor in year-over-year comparability as it represents a $125 million year-over-year decrease in revenue, gross profit, net income and adjusted EBITDA.

We expect gross margins to be significantly down year-over-year due to the higher net increase in deferred revenue, amortization of acquired intangibles and user pay mix in Q3 2020 versus Q3 2019. We also anticipate our GAAP operating expenses as a percentage of revenue to increase year-over-year, primarily due to the impact of the higher net increase in deferred revenue, partially offset by a lower contingent consideration expense year-over-year.

Outside of these factors, we anticipate year-over-year improvements in operating leverage in R&D and G&A, partially offset by higher marketing investments across our live services portfolio and new game pipeline. We expect a net loss of $160 million in Q3 2020. This compares to net income of $230 million in Q3 2019, which included a onetime gain of $314 million related to the sale of our San Francisco building.

Other drivers of the year-over-year change in net loss are the higher net increase in deferred revenue, amortization of acquired intangibles and stock-based compensation, partially offset by our improved operating performance and lower contingent consideration expense.

We expect an adjusted EBITDA loss of $45 million in Q3 2020 versus adjusted EBITDA of $28 million in Q3 2019. This year-over-year change is primarily driven by the $125 million year-over-year growth in the net increase in deferred revenue, partially offset by our improved operating performance.

Now turning to 2020, our revised guidance is as follows: revenue of $1.8 billion, up $478 million or 36% year-over-year and up $110 million versus our prior guidance; a net increase in deferred revenue of $400 million [of] $158 million or 65% year-over-year and up $250 million versus our prior guidance; bookings of $2.2 billion, up $636 million or 41% year-over-year and up $360 million versus our prior guidance; a net loss of $550 million to net income of $42 million in 2019 and $200 million higher than our prior guidance of a net loss of $350 million; adjusted EBITDA of $85 million, down $2 million or 3% year-over-year and down $138 million versus our prior guidance.

Our guidance assumes that live services will deliver the vast majority of our top line performance driven by our forever franchises, include full year contributions from the recently acquired Toon Blast and Toy Blast franchises, as well as initial contributions from new games that we expect to launch later this year. We also expect year-over-year user pay growth to more than offset declines in advertising yields.

We expect a net increase in deferred revenue of $400 million, an increase of $250 million versus our prior guidance, primarily due to the deferral of the majority of initial bookings from our recently acquired franchises, Toon Blast and Toy Blast. The year-over-year change in this GAAP deferral is a meaningful factor in year-over-year comparability as it represents a $158 million year-over-year decrease in revenue, gross profit, net income and adjusted EBITDA. We expect gross margins to be significantly down year-over-year, primarily due to the higher net increase in deferred revenue, additional amortization of acquired intangibles and user pay mix in 2020 versus 2019.

Given the higher net increase in deferred revenue and contingent consideration expense in 2020 versus 2019, we expect GAAP operating expenses as a percentage of revenue to decrease year-over-year. Outside of these factors, we anticipate improvement in operating leverage from R&D and G&A, which should be partially offset by increased marketing investments in our live services and new game launches.

Operating leverage will ultimately be a function of our live services performance, user pay versus advertising mix, timing of our new game launches and the level of marketing invested in scaling our live services and new titles.

In 2020, we expect a net loss of $550 million, $200 million higher than our prior guidance of $350 million, primarily due to the acquisition of Peak and its resulting impact on the net increase in deferred revenue, amortization of acquired intangibles, stock-based compensation, partially offset by income tax benefits and operating contribution from the acquired titles. This compares to a net income of $42 million in 2019, which included a onetime gain of $314 million related to the sale of our San Francisco building.

The other primary drivers of the year-over-year change in net loss are the higher net increase in deferred revenue and contingent consideration expense, with our improved operating performance offsetting the year-over-year dilutive changes in other GAAP to non-GAAP reconciling items.

We expect adjusted EBITDA of $85 million, down $138 million versus our prior guidance as our stronger operating performance will be more than offset by the additional $250 million of net increase in deferred revenue.

On a year-over-year basis, we anticipate adjusted EBITDA will be down $2 million, driven primarily by the $158 million year-over-year growth in our net increase in deferred revenue, largely offset by our improved operating performance.

Our strong execution in 2020 should position Zynga for continued growth in 2021 where we expect double-digit top line growth, the potential for further margin expansion and positive operating cash flow.

In summary, while we are operating in unprecedented times, we remain focused on entertaining and connecting our players through our games. Our business fundamentals are strong, and we are continuing to execute on our multiyear growth strategy.

With that, I will turn the call back to Frank.

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [5]

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Thanks, Ger. Before we open the call to live Q&A, I want to take a moment to touch on our current operating environment.

First, we hope that all of you are safe and well along with your family, friends and colleagues. In these challenging times, the health and safety of our teams have been a top priority. We're extremely proud of how Zynga has seamlessly transitioned to a work-from-home configuration without any material disruptions to our operations and while delivering new features, content and products for our players. We anticipate that our North American offices will work from home through early 2021, while our international-based offices will begin to reopen based on guidance from local authorities.

To support our teams, over the past several months, we have updated and introduced many new health and wellness benefits, programs and services to assist with work-from-home needs. We also continued to support our communities. And in Q2, we donated over $2 million to a variety of causes. In addition, we are committing $25 million over the next 5 years towards diversity and inclusion initiatives at Zynga and in the overall gaming industry.

In summary, supporting our teams, communities and Zynga's founding mission to connect the world through games has never been more important. Our business fundamentals are strong, and we are incredibly excited by the growth and innovation ahead for interactive entertainment. It's increasingly clear that games are emerging as powerful new social networks where people around the world come together to connect, play and socialize.

Zynga is uniquely well positioned within this landscape as a leading mobile-first free-to-play live services social game company with a portfolio of proven franchises. We are on track to deliver a record year for Zynga in 2020 and are positioned for further growth in 2021, where we expect double-digit growth, top line growth, the potential for further margin expansion and positive operating cash flow.

With that, I would now like to open up the call to your questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) I show our first question comes from the line of Eric Sheridan from UBS.

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Eric James Sheridan, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD and Equity Research Internet Analyst [2]

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First, maybe a big picture question for you, Frank. I think you've done all the acquisitions, and I think, generally, investors have a pretty good sense of the known titles that you've acquired. But what sort of visibility do you have now out over multiple years? Just a sort of a big picture question in terms of thinking about what these teams might be able to develop, what a pipeline might look like. Just so investors can generally get a sense of what sort of inorganic growth might be layering in on top of some of the organic growth from the titles that they already know about. Just curious, even conceptually, how that might play out. And then maybe for the back part of the year, there continue to be a lot of changes in the broad advertising environment, investors are asking a lot of questions about the iOS 14 and IDFA. How are you guys thinking, both potentially for headwinds for your advertising revenue as well as your marketing ROI in the back part of the year, given some of the changes that might be playing out in the advertising landscape?

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [3]

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Thanks for the question, Eric. I'll take the first one. With regards to the new product pipeline. When we look across all of Zynga, including studios such as NaturalMotion, teams in the North American studios as well as Gram, Small Giant and now talking about Peak, we have active products in development that are planned for 2020, 2021 and beyond. We're really looking at the expertise that each of those studios brings and looking at our overall portfolio in terms of where we have the best opportunities to grow the company.

We also have projects planned that are smaller in scale for chat platforms, for the more mass casual platforms that are in active development and test. And we're looking for ways in the future to learn from Rollic's prototyping process. They have an amazing approach to how they prototype games, work with outside developers and bring them to market. So we think that there's an opportunity there as well to further enhance and expand our product pipeline, which now encompasses chat, hyper-casual as well as more traditional mainline mobile games. So very exciting opportunities for us in the future to continue to grow the company organically in addition to what we've done in live services and then potentially with future inorganic opportunities.

In terms of the second question, if you look at the second half of the year as it relates to acquiring players and also running the advertising network, obviously, there's a lot of talk about IDFA and the impact to the overall business and also just overall trends inside the economy and what's going to happen. Obviously, a lot of unknowns there. And from our perspective, when we look at our business, our trends and how things are tracking, when we look into the second half, obviously, our advertising business is hitting our expectations. We communicated that we felt that it would be flat to slightly down. It's seen a little bit of a recovery here in the second half of Q2. But in terms of overall growth, I think it's really going to start to accelerate when Rollic becomes part of the advertising network in Q4 when we see a sizable increase in MAUs in addition to a diversification of the demos and also regions that we can advertise into.

In terms of the actual specific impacts that IDFA will have on acquisition or advertising CPMs and yields, I think it's a little too early to tell what will happen there. I think there's going to be puts and takes. And I think long term, things will settle out. There'll be new opportunities and new places to innovate. At the same time that some traditional tools and tactics might start to lose their effectiveness. So it will be a little bit choppy here in the early stages. And as Apple rolls out some of its platform shifts, we also still have Android and other platforms that are continuing to operate in the context that we're currently comfortable with.

I would point out that in the case of Rollic, for example, the way that they acquire players does not rely on IDFA. So we do have sectors of our business in terms of how we go out and organically acquire, and also from a paid standpoint, acquired players, that probably won't be that impacted. But there will be other parts that will be and we're just not sure by how much and what the mitigating countermeasures will take in terms of how we evolve the business from here.

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Operator [4]

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I show our next question comes from the line of Alex Giaimo from Jefferies.

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Alexander Joseph Giaimo, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [5]

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Two questions, maybe one for Frank and then one for Ger. Frank, going back to Rollic, can you maybe just provide some background on the company, maybe how long you've been in discussions and what attracted you to that asset specifically. And then for Ger, just regarding the guidance for both the third quarter and the full year. Can you provide a bit of color on what's assumed from a Peak contribution? Should we still just be run rating that $600 million number you provided at announcement?

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [6]

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Thanks, Alex. The opportunity to come together with Rollic really presented itself in the first half of this year. We have been studying hyper-casual now for several years and monitoring the progress and been very impressed with the growth rate of the category, the share of voice that it now occupies on the app stores, the number of chart positions in the top, top 10 and top 20 for installs that are maintained by hyper-casual games. So we like the category. As we've watched it evolved, it has changed over the last several years, but it continues to show resiliency and strength and continued growth. As a result, we started to look at ways to build versus buy to go after this opportunity. And that journey brought us to Rollic in the first part of this year. We were able to meet and talk to them via the meeting that you use in the pandemic, which is Zoom, but we also were able to leverage the great strength that we have in Turkey. So our Gram team, our Peak team, the Casual Cards group, that -- those management teams were able to meet directly with Rollic, really get to know each other in addition to us getting to meet them virtually over Zoom.

And diligence was a very straightforward exercise. We found a team that is very aggressive, very new in terms of being founded in December 2018. But if you look at their track record in terms of bringing in outside developers as well as standing up their internal studios, their results in this first part of 2020, it's really been remarkable. Aid of Rollic's games have reached 1 or 2 in terms of most downloaded. They had 250 million plus downloads. And the growth rate just looks surprisingly strong even through some of these challenges that we see with the pandemic and economic distress.

The category is great because it's -- they're lightweight games. They're instantly playable. They're broadly appealing. They're globally appealing. And it feels like that is an opportunity for us to grow our business. And with the ad model being so strong there, they have a very deep bench of advertising executives and folks that know a lot about how to monetize inside of ad-driven games that we think will help the overall portfolio at Zynga as well. So very excited to add to our footprint in Turkey. Rollic will maintain what we usually do with acquisitions. They've got their culture. They've got their approach. We have aligned goals. And over the next several years, we expect that we're going to be able to grow faster together.

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James Gerard Griffin, Zynga Inc. - CFO [7]

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Alex, in terms of assumptions for the second half of the year, yes, I would just continue with what we said when we announced the Peak acquisition. That's the base assumption we're using for guidance.

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Operator [8]

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I show our next question comes from the line of Mario Lu from Barclays.

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X. Lu, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Research Analyst [9]

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Congrats on the great quarter. So I have one on Peak and one on Battle Pass. So we talked a lot of opportunities and which thing that can help monetize Peak's titles. But the question is on the flip side. So how much knowledge can you leverage from Peak's expertise in the puzzle genre to your own titles, such as the upcoming Harry Potter title as well as Peak's ability to grow its sister title Toon Blast, which mirrors the goal of Zynga sister titles such as Puzzle Combat and Merge Magic!? And secondly, on Battle Pass, I find it very interesting that the mechanic currently expands through different genres within your portfolio. Is there any reason why it cannot be applied to all Zynga titles over time? And any color you can provide on how additive it is to bookings for each title?

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [10]

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Thanks, Mario. In terms of the impact that Peak is having on our creative organization, it's only been a very short period of time since they've been part of our studios. But I've been really blown away by the amount of collaboration and teamwork that they've already embarked upon with our games. The Harry Potter team and the Peak team have already met multiple times. They've been trading builds and notes. And that the insights that Peak have developed over the years of building highly retentive games that seen at the top of the charts, is something that we're propagating through Zynga. Sidar and his leadership team have been very generous with their time to participate in design brainstorms, reviews of levels, game balancing notes. It's really been impressive to see how quickly the teams have gelled and are really helping each other. So it's only been just a matter of weeks, frankly, since they've been engaged, and we're already seeing the impact come this way, which is really one of the strengths of the model that we have by keeping the studios decentralized with their own strong cultures and chemistry, the collaboration that we see between Gram and Small Giant, NaturalMotion, Peak and our other studios like Words with Friends and Poker, it's pretty awesome, thinking about the potential long term, and we're already seeing it in the short-term changes and modifications to existing games.

In terms of the second question. We started the Battle Pass, obviously off in Small Giant's product. We liked the results. It still has potential to grow, and we're still tuning it to be the best that it can be. But a lot of -- as I just mentioned in the prior question, we share a lot and collaborate a lot inside the company. And so all the data that the Battle Pass is generating inside Empires & Puzzles was shared with all the Zynga teams. And the important part was to take the basic value proposition that a Battle Pass has for players and express it in a category or franchise appropriate way, like with Hit It Rich!, or like with the Gram title. So the base value proposition is very flexible, and it has a lot of room to run. You just have to make sure that you implement it in a way that makes sense inside the franchise that it's going into. And the players see the value proposition of signing up for that pass, and they really enjoy it. So we do a lot of testing. And I think that this will be something that can make its way into other parts of the portfolio over time. The important thing is to not rush it and stifle the engagement or the retention curves by overmonetizing or putting a breakage into the game. So Mario, we typically take a lot of time testing and implement -- before full implementation goes in, but we're very excited by the results.

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Operator [11]

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Our next question comes from the line of Brian Fitzgerald from Wells Fargo.

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Brian Nicholas Fitzgerald, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [12]

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Maybe a follow up to, I think, Alex's question and discussion on Rollic's. And that's just -- is this going to be same with the more classic Zynga play book in terms of integration where you utilize the best practices but you don't do any rationalization or synergy kind of leverage? And then to Alex's question on that run rate for Peak. Is that weighted evenly? Or is there differences between Q3s and Q4s?

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [13]

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I take the second question. In terms of the integration of Rollic, it will follow our playbook. They will continue to drive their business. They are extremely aggressive and focused on hyper-casual and doing a great job. Our job is to: a, not get in the way; but b, accelerate their progress wherever we can. So if there's things that we can do in data science, UA, our advertising network deals, publishing platform relationships with Apple and Google, those -- all those discussions are well underway. And it's very exciting to see how the 2 companies come together.

From a synergy standpoint, this is a team that's less than 40 people in Istanbul. They have a lot of variable resources in terms of the partners that they work with, but it's a very small team. So it's a very light footprint, and they can then leverage the rest of Zynga's organizational knowledge, institutional information and capabilities, and that's kind of the excitement and configuration for Rollic. And then Ger can take the question on Peak in terms of how it splits out in Q3 and Q4.

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James Gerard Griffin, Zynga Inc. - CFO [14]

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Yes, Brian, I would just assume even over the 2 quarters, that's how it's flowed into the current guidance.

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Operator [15]

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Our next question comes from Colin Sebastian from Baird.

Okay. Our next question comes from the line of Doug Creutz from Cowen.

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Douglas Lippl Creutz, Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [16]

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Can you talk a little bit about what you're seeing in terms of ROIs on UA? It seems like on your Q1 call, you had indicated you were going to lead into lower ROIs and spend more in Q2. It looks like you did but maybe not quite as much as you thought you would. How did that evolve during the quarter? And what are you seeing now?

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [17]

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Doug, we -- the early part of the quarter in that March, April, May time frame, the withdrawal of a lot of brand advertisers and entertainment campaigns opened up opportunities for gaming companies to buy with very good deals, very good returns. So a lot of that activity occupied the first half of the quarter. Once we got to a point where things started to look a little bit different towards the end where brand advertisers came back in and some of the rates went up due to the activity, we frankly had a lot of velocity already in the business, and the momentum was good and our organics and engagement were strong. So where we didn't see the returns that we wanted, we pulled back. So from a combination of elements, we're being very selective about where we invest. But that kind of land rush towards a lot of really good deals ended very quickly because a lot of game companies saw it. But as things have gone back to elevated levels above Q1, but not at the peak of COVID in May, we still see good opportunity to grow our businesses, and we're going after it. But we're not necessarily feeling very pressured right now to have to overinvest that drives it.

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James Gerard Griffin, Zynga Inc. - CFO [18]

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Sorry, Doug, this is Ger. The only thing I would add, sort of building on what Frank just said. If you look at Q2 results, understanding, we were dealing with a COVID quarter, if we want to call it that, I think what you saw in terms of the dynamics in live services is that given the performance of our bold beats and the engagement of our players, we obviously were able to optimize the UA spend, so versus our guidance and versus the prior quarters. That's why, obviously, when you see that strong bookings, and optimization, you can deliver north of 25% flow through.

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Operator [19]

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Our next question comes from the line of Matthew Thornton from Truist Securities.

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Matthew Corey Thornton, Truist Securities, Inc., Research Division - VP [20]

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Maybe 2, if I could. I guess first, on the pipeline, you talked a little bit about starting to bring titles, I think it was plural later on this year. Just wondering if you could provide a little more color on just how you're thinking about impact in the second half from new tiles. And any updates you might have on some of the other out your kind of projects that you guys have at least announced previously. And then just secondly, coming back to Rollic for a second. Just curious if you can talk a little bit about what the kind of normalized growth rates of that business looks like.

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [21]

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Matt, the new title plan is very much what we communicated in the remarks in terms of the second half. FarmVille 3, Puzzle Combat and Harry Potter is all -- are all making very good progress in soft launch. And we're looking at releasing in the second half when we get to a point where the KPIs demonstrate to us that we have games with great long-term engagement retention, and we can really open them up for a global market.

The thing that I would point out is that we did cite that these games would roll out and build over time. So the actual contribution in the second half is minimal. The second half is very much a live services business combined with Peak. Rollic and new games -- Rollic is not in and new games is very small in terms of what we're thinking about on a guidance level.

With regards to the growth rate on Rollic, this first half is really doing great in terms of how they're growing. And it's a little hard to tell exactly how long and what form their growth will sustain. But it feels very good to us in terms of how they're bringing in titles, how they're prototyping, how they're bringing in the market. Hopefully, with our help, we can see some optimizations and growth even more so than we're seeing now. But it's exciting to have a growth asset like Rollic come in at the second half of the year for us and really set us up for what, in 2021, could be a great year in terms of growing Rollic.

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Operator [22]

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Our next question comes from the line of Matthew Cost from Morgan Stanley.

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Matthew Andrew Cost, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate [23]

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So when you look at the trends that you're seeing, I guess, late into Q2 and now as we're a month into Q3, where is that tracking versus maybe what you expected at the beginning of the year pre-COVID? And how would you think about, sort of, where we are on the journey to getting back to a pre-COVID run rate? Or put another way, how long do you expect the benefit to stick around for? And then within the context of the portfolio. You've noted that Social Slots and Casual Cards were an area of particular strength. How sustainable do you view that -- the strength in that category relative to the rest of the portfolio? And then I have one follow-up.

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James Gerard Griffin, Zynga Inc. - CFO [24]

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Yes, this is Ger. I'll take the -- in terms of trends. If you look at Q1, obviously, we had a very strong quarter across the live services portfolio. So if I sort of ignore Q2 and look at Q3. We're still showing growth across the live services. So from that perspective, we're happy with where the core business is. And it is -- if we hadn't done Peak, we'd still be in a position where we'd be upgrading our guidance, purely based on that aspect of our business. So from that perspective, we're happy. What I will say -- and again, there's still a lot of uncertainty around COVID-19 normalization, back to normal -- what normal is. So -- but we have seen the activity in games in July compared to June is mixed across the board. Some are still growing. Some are showing some sort of trends towards what we call a pre-COVID level.

But big picture overall, based on our core execution and our bold beat strategy, we're comfortable that we've got a resilient and vibrant live service business and expect to continue that through the end of the year. Obviously, very happy to layer into that, the Toy Blast and Toon Blast. And as Frank mentioned, Rollic will come in as long as the deal closes in Q4 to add some additional help to our advertising business. But big picture, we feel good about the fundamentals of Zynga. There's a lot of uncertainty in the market in general. But for what we can control, we feel good that we're executing.

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Matthew Andrew Cost, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate [25]

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Great. Then just quickly on margins. Obviously, it was an extraordinary situation in Q2. But now that you've put up what I think is the highest EBITDA margin in almost a decade, I think, at this point, where are you on the path to sort of your near and kind of medium-term margin goals?

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James Gerard Griffin, Zynga Inc. - CFO [26]

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Well, the -- our full year guidance is indicating, excluding the impact of deferred revenue, we're going to be printing 22%. So we're beyond -- we've actually held, obviously, through the year north of our immediate near-term goal, which was break 20% and sustain. And now it's the path to 25% and beyond. As you said, Q4 of last year was 24%. This quarter was 26%. So you can see the dynamic where you have a stronger level of engagement or monetization in your business in any given quarter, you can break to higher levels. The key, though, is sustaining over time. And we're managing a portfolio and all quarters aren't equal. And -- but as you can see, we're guiding again north of 20% for this quarter and obviously, 22% for the full year. The ultimate outcome for the full year will be a function of how our live services perform. New games will not be a major factor. They'll be a factor from a marketing perspective, but it's -- there's -- from a bookings perspective, new games in 2020 will be reasonably small compared to the live services performance. But the main wildcard, quite frankly, is marketing. We've -- as we see strong results in our live services, it gives us more latitude to optimize our user acquisition. And while there's some uncertainty around what IDFA means, when you look at our diverse portfolio of live service games, and the approach and scale of our audience, we do have levers there to continue to manage that effectively.

So I would say printing 22% this year is a good result. And then as we look into the following year, it's going to be the same playbook, continue to execute against our live services, launch these games and steadily scale them. And obviously, we will get a full year contribution from Peak. And if we close Rollic, which we hope to do October 1, we'll get a full year contribution from Rollic. So I think we've got the levers to continue to grow, not just the bookings, but also the EBITDA over time and the operating cash flow.

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Operator [27]

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Our next question comes from the line of Mike Hickey from The Benchmark company.

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Michael Joseph Hickey, The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Analyst [28]

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Congrats on a pretty incredible quarter. I guess just first on Rollic. When you sort of look at the success of their games, how much is it sort of creative design versus maybe a data-driven science approach or maybe something else, just sort of wondering how they sort of sustain their competitive position?

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [29]

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Mike, thanks for that question and the comments. We -- when we looked at how Rollic builds games, I think one of the things that was so impressive was the top of the funnel for how they actually create products. The combination of their internal studio, which has really generated some of their top installs, but also they have access to a huge network of development start to bring in the best and the brightest, if you will, of ideas from all over the world. We then put those through or Rollic puts those through a very vigorous prototype testing process, where they're looking at efficiency in UA, they're looking at engagement. And then the game gets basically greenlit. And they do this in a matter of days once the prototypes come in. And so it's a very fast-moving process. It's a very scalable process. And it's one that has a lot of access in terms of internal and external ideas. So I think over time, it will be resilient. I think where hyper-casual companies sometimes have seen their growth curves bounce a bit, is when they aren't able to manage the top of the funnel. Their releases slow down or the yields don't generate as much as they hope. So there's ways that Rollic is configured that we thought was very innovative and interesting, that would allow us to manage that over time together. Coupled with some of the near-term synergies, I think that we can help them with in terms of data science, UA, ad deal rates and platforms.

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Michael Joseph Hickey, The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Analyst [30]

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And then you obviously noted, it looks like you guys want to continue to find success in M&A. Is these hyper-casual sort of the new genre or platform you're going to continue to build on in M&A? And how robust is that market? (inaudible)

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [31]

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I think that -- yes. No, Mike, I think it's a great point that the talent base is -- in mobile is global, and it's -- there's a lot of supply of great companies out there, big, small and different categories in different regions of the world. So consolidation is obviously underway in the interactive category. We're actively participating in growth through finding partnerships with companies out there. This happened to be a hyper-casual acquisition this time last. The one before that was Peak, was more about forever franchises and AAA studio with titles on the way. So from our perspective, when we look at what's next, it's really a huge opportunity for us in terms of looking for not just more hyper-casual game companies, but potentially other companies.

Scale is going to be increasingly important in mobile. And as we exit this year, our MAUs are going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $160 million with 40 million DAUs. We have an advertising network. We have a portfolio of 8 forever franchises. So we're going to be in a position where smaller developers and midsize developers that maybe aren't able to navigate some of the issues out there are going to be able to partner with Zynga in a way that I think could help them grow and help us grow. So long term, I think there's a lot of opportunity still to go there. But day in and day out with Ger and I and the management team spend all of our time on is growing live services, getting the bold beats out on time, making sure the new game pipeline is tracking. So it's going to be a combination of organic, inorganic as we grow the company over the next several years, not just acquisitions.

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Operator [32]

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I show our next question comes from Colin Sebastian from Baird.

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Colin Alan Sebastian, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [33]

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I guess on Merge Magic!, now that's officially your forever franchise, I'm just wondering how that changes, if at all, the way you manage game development or marketing support for the game. And maybe just on your last point regarding organic growth and the 2021 commentary around double-digit bookings. I'm assuming then that, that does embed growth for the existing portfolio outside of Peak and Rollic.

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [34]

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Colin, the discussion about 2021, we'll get into the more detail on basically, the call this back half of this year. But in general, we're looking at -- we're growing the live business regarding new business. Obviously, it's the new stuff that (inaudible) so from our perspective, it is a combination of those elements. And again, we'll get into more detail in the second half of the year on what the constituent components of that '21 guide is.

In terms of the Merge Magic! question, now that they've kind of got the game out, and we're starting to scale it, the transition to scalable bold beat and data-driven as well as creative driven decision-making in terms of how the year unfolds with road maps, is really where we're transitioning towards with the team. Much like what we did with Dragons. So as we start to evaluate new feature road maps, the team does take on a little bit of a different configuration, not dramatically different, but in the case of where we're at in the development, now that it's out and scaling, we start to shift the focus towards some more segment level information and designs and new features for the road maps.

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Operator [35]

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Our last question comes from the line of Drew Crum from Stifel.

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Andrew Edward Crum, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - VP [36]

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Okay. Guys, with Peak and now Rollic, would you say you need time to digest these transactions? Or would you look to pull the trigger if something else comes along? Trying to gauge your appetite to do more deals over the near term. And then Frank, Zynga Poker, as you referenced in the press release, had its best booking this quarter since 3Q of '18. Understanding it's been somewhat of a struggle to get back to that threshold. Based on what you observed in 2Q, how do you see the performance of that franchise going forward?

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [37]

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Thanks, Drew. In terms of appetite for M&A, we actually are -- we're in integration mode right now. So yes, we're focused on making sure that we deliver the second half of the year, that we successfully continue to integrate Peak and they continue to make our company and business better. And then with Rollic coming in October, there's a lot of work to be done there. So we feel like we've got enough irons in the fire right now in terms of where we're at and how we're positioned. I think looking forward, over the long term, most of the commentary in the prior questions about M&A was more focused on the future, not necessarily right now because I think we've got a really great position right now, and it's about executing and focusing on the deliverables.

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James Gerard Griffin, Zynga Inc. - CFO [38]

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Yes. I'd just add to Frank's comments and he said this earlier, every day we wake up, we're focused on our core life business, and Peak is part of that business now. It's 2 of our forever franchises. It's a team that's integrated already into our weekly revenue calls, and is working closely with the live services side of our business. But as I think about it from a CFO perspective, operating the business is core.

The other area that's very much a focus for me is ongoing capital allocation. As we mentioned in the investor letter, we will continue to assess raising additional funds to make sure we do have the cash powder to go out and do additional acquisitions in the future. But right now, I would say, I'm focusing more on that and running the business. And key is obviously one of the factors that define the targeting of the close date for Rollic was to make sure we would continue to focus on the core business integrating Peak. And then the team from Rollic can come join us in Q4. What I will tell you is we have the bandwidth to deal with that. We've said that in the past. These 2 deals are pure in the sense that they're a very tight configuration of creative teams. There's not a lot of overhead and complication to integrate. And that's why they fit very well with the overall configure Zynga. But yes, we're looking forward to printing a very strong results for the full fiscal, and obviously entering 2021 with both Peak and Rollic as part of our live teams.

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Frank D. Gibeau, Zynga Inc. - CEO & Director [39]

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With regards to the question on Poker, it took a little bit longer than I would have liked, and many of us would like, but the game has been rebounding, as you noted. We're very impressed with a lot of the changes and additions that the game team has been making. And as we look forward in terms of Poker, we're excited about the trend that we see there. But we're still ironing out things. We're still working through the process. Q2 was a nice quarter for us. And the key is to sustain that performance, and the team is doing a pretty good job on it right now.

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Operator [40]

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Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, I show no further questions in the Q&A. This concludes our Q&A session and today's conference call. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for attending today's call and participating. You may now disconnect.